Microsoft senior researcher Danah Boyd, a professor at New York University, is focusing on children and teenagers' use of social media.
Although adults worry about young people posting their lives, leaking passwords, and becoming susceptible to online predators, Boyd says they are worrying about the wrong things. She says children today are reacting online largely to social changes that have taken place off line. Since many children are not allowed to roam the neighborhood and hang out with friends, they now perform these activities in an online social network setting.
However, Boyd says that many adults are overprotecting children and keeping them from exploring and experiencing things online that might help them. "Rather than see what teenagers are showing us online about bullying and suicide and the problems they’re dealing with and using that information to help them, we’re making ourselves blind to it," she says.
By focusing on a range of issues, Boyd has shown that issues of race, class, and gender persist in the virtual world just as in the real world. "She was the first to say that the teenagers at risk off line are the same ones who are at risk online," says Microsoft's Alice Marwick.
From New York Times
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